Tarpon Springs, Florida – Six members of a salvage crew out of Tarpon Springs have been jailed in Honduras for nearly a month on gun smuggling charges
The men were set sail to Honduras last month to salvage mahogany logs from a river in the country. When they arrived on May 5, authorities in the port of Puerto Lempira boarded their vessel, the Aqua Quest, a found several weapons, including an AK-47.
Steve Matanich, Devon Butler, Nick Cook, Kelly Garrett, along with brothers Michael Mayne and Robert Mayne Jr, who own the company Aqua Quest International, were arrested and charged with smuggling weapons into the country.
Sarah Montgomery, whose fiancé is among the jailed, told us the men had the weapons on their boat for protection and not for trafficking.
"Maritime law says you're allowed to carry weapons upon your vessel as long as you check them when you get there," she said.
The U.S. State Department is aware of the arrests and is currently working with Honduran authorities.
"We can confirm that six U.S. citizens aboard the Aqua Quest have been detained in Honduras since May 5. There is no greater priority for us than the welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad. The U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa has been monitoring the case closely and has been providing appropriate consular assistance. Consular officials last visited the crew on May 19," read a statement from the State Department Press Office.
Even though he is represents Pennsylvania, a spokesperson for Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick said he is working to get details about the arrests and the release of the men who have been jailed.